Monday, October 3, 2016

CIM WEEK 9 of 18: Improvement on the knee front!

I know, sorry....I had no good pictures this week
because I spent it mostly hoping my leg wouldn't fall off.

Not an amazing week, but honestly, considering the shape my knee was in last week, it was better than I'd hoped for. This was a scheduled off-week from lifting, but I still did at least a little body weight strength work & stretching for glutes, hamstrings, and hips every most days.

In sartorial news, I've finally decided to give up "regular" shorts & just accept the fact that for me, anything with more than a two- or three-inch inseam inevitably leads to Thigh-Chafe City after more than eight or ten miles. I do love love love my Rogas (four-inch inseam) because of the fit and the fabric and the perfect little pocket, but I have never been a skinny thighs girl & finally just had to accept that with the normal Rogas, if we're talking double digits, it's just too much loose sweaty fabric scraping around down there.

I have a couple of pairs of short-shorts that for a long time I didn't wear for general running around the city because I felt a bit self-conscious and worried about people thinking it was inappropriate or show-off-ey or "no one wants to see that" or whatever, but it turns out there is a limit to how much post-run bow-legged cowboy walking a girl can put up with in a week and I have finally reached the point where my discomfort outweighs my concern about total strangers' opinions.

So, I promptly went to & cleaned them out of every affordable pair of Mac Rogas (two-inch inseam) they had in my size (because no way in hell am I paying Oiselle retail prices plus shipping & non-free returns). Behold:

My inner thighs maybe scarred forever, but at least there will be less bow-legged cowboy walking in my future.

Grand Total: 32 real miles, 15.25 elliptical, & 5 spin bike

    * 10 easy
    * 4 speed
    * 18 long

Monday 9/26: afternoon 1 easy / p.m. karate. Just a little test jog to see how the knee put up with it. No pain running or with karate, so that was encouraging.

Tuesday 9/27: 2 warm-up, 2 x 1600m @ 7:19, 30:00 elliptical @ marathon effort, 2 x 1600m @ 7:19, 1 cool down = 7 real miles, 3.75 elliptical.

I did this run at the gym where I could get off the treadmill at any moment and also switch between the treadmill and elliptical as needed. (Trying to do a 10+ mile speed work in its entirety right out of the gate seemed like a bad idea.)

And, I learned something.

Last year I learned from the strength trainer that I was working with that the problems I've had in the past with my right hip were probably caused by my left glutes and hamstrings being somewhat weaker than the right ones (meaning I don't push as hard off the left leg, meaning I don't travel as far, meaning the right leg has to compensate every so slightly, which adds up after thousands of strides).

And sure enough, I found as I did the mile repeats on the treadmill that the way to get the knee pain to disappear was to recruit the SHIT out of my left glutes & hamstrings and run, like, *twice* as hard on that leg as on the right. When I did this, a) it felt like my my left glutes/hamstrings were about to cramp at any second, and b) the knee pain almost completely disappeared. (And the second I got lazy about it, the knee pain came back.)

For a long time I was doing lots of extra strength work on my left side to fix my right hip problems, but I suppose I kind of fell into the trap of thinking, "Cool, it's all better, guess I don't have to do this anymore!" Apparently, I do. Sigh.

Wednesday 9/28: 6 elliptical. Although my knee felt fine most of the time I was running on Tuesday, by Wednesday morning it was definitely a little worse. So, back to the elliptical it was.

Thursday 9/29: 5 spin bike + 5.5 elliptical. This was the day I discovered that biking was not really a cross training option. I thought maybe I'd change things up but apparently cycling requires bending my knee farther than it really wanted to be bent. So back to the elliptical it was. Bah.

Friday 9/30: 2 warm up, 40:00 @ marathon pace, 2 cool down Rest. I wasn't going to try to actually for-real run this workout anyway, but then I got sucked into a work project with a hard deadline & ended up needing to work super late. I actually would have been pissed about missing a tempo/pace run that involved actual running, but the truth is it's hard to feel all that broken up about missing 80 minutes on the elliptical.

On the plus side, once the work crap was handled, I (FINALLY) made the bison burgers from Run Fast Eat Slow. I have had all the ingredients except the bison in my fridge for a week & a half because there is only one place nearby I know of to purchase bison meat & my life is such I don't generally have time to make special snowflake trips for a single item. BUT, on Thursday I was in the area & there are now four pounds of bison meat in the freezer.

We had them in pita pockets with middle Eastern-type toppings (hummus, peppers, tzatziki sauce) and they were absolutely delicious, not to mention practically dripping with iron. They were also super easy to throw together & toss on the grill, so I could definitely see them becoming a staple. Assuming I can keep us stocked up on bison.

Step one! I meant to take pictures of the finished product but after this, it was kind of a "Screw this, I'm starving situation." Also the leftovers were perfect post-long run.

Saturday 10/1: 6 easy. Just a little test run to see how the knee was feeling. Thankfully, running at an easy pace felt fine, with no pain during or after.

Sunday 10/2: 18 long.

I'm probably a moron for doing this outside in the fresh air rather than parking myself on the treadmill for three hours, but thankfully my knee felt fine the whole time (as long I continued to work REALLY hard at using my left glutes/hamstrings) and it all worked out (besides the mutilated foot/sock). It was Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in Golden Gate Park, so I definitely spent way more time than I would have liked dodging basic bitches & white people with dreadlocks taking up the whole damn side walk.

As for the foot/sock, here's what happened. My precious little snowflake bunny feet & joints get grumpy once a pair of long run shoes hits 200 miles, & since both pairs I've recently been using are now over that, I dug out an almost-new pair of original Brooks Launches from the back of my closet. They're half a size smaller than what I usually get in that shoe (can't remember why), but I figured I should actually get some use out of them & they felt fine when I put them on, so off I went.

Maybe an hour in, I realize the right one was rubbing uncomfortably on the inside of my foot, but it wasn't awful, so I kept going. By a few miles later, I was sure I had a blister, but these things happen and what was I going to do about it but keep running. By the time I finished my run it was pretty bad & thought maybe the blister had burst, but honestly, I had no idea *how* bad things were until I pulled my shoe off. GODDAMN.

(I love these socks, but after several years of running in them I have definitely discovered the weak link & it is the inner arch/big toe joint area. They do last a long time (several years) but when they finally fail it pretty much always seems to be in that area. What I've learned is to throw them out once they're threadbare in that region rather than waiting for a bloody mess.)

I'm not counting myself as out of the woods yet. While my knee doesn't *hurt* per se anymore, it's definitely still a little irritated. I suspect that my quad & hip flexor need a lot of attention in the stretching department & maybe that's why bending it beyond say 100 degrees still feels a little like something is being pulled further than it wants to be. So, easy running is totally fine (as long as I'm really engaging the left glutes/hamstrings), but it remains to be seen what will happen when I try adding back in speed/tempo work (since that usually results in bending my knees more).

So, I suppose the A goal for Week 10 is to do all workouts as written (including 20 with fast finish at Healdsburg Half Marathon), B goal = do mostly as written but replace some fast running with easy miles, C = do all the miles at some nonzero pace, & C- = don't end the week worse off than I am right now.

[crosses all the phalanges]

* * *

CIM 2016 Week 1 of 18

CIM 2016 Week 2 of 18

CIM 2016 Week 3 of 18

CIM 2016 Week 4 of 18

CIM 2016 Week 5 of 18

CIM 2016 Week 6 of 18

CIM 2016 Week 7 of 18

CIM 2016 Week 8 of 18


  1. Oh the bloody sock-- I've been there. Mine keep getting worn out above my heel. In my case, I think the problem is that my favorite shoes are a bit big in the heel (a common occurrence for me since I have slightly wide feet and have to size up for a bigger toe box).

    1. Ugh, been there. I used to have a pair I loved except that they tore up the back of my heels if my socks happened to slip down, which happened occasionally.

  2. homg! what a photo to wake up to first thing in my feed. Thanks! I've also been there - the blister right above the heel. I must have weirdly pointy heels, because that's where my shoes rub, when they do. Got rid of those shoes ASAP.

    Also, there's no clothes-shaming in running - you find the clothes that make you comfortable and happy, and the hell with who sells them or how long/ short/ transparent they are. I love the hell out of my regular Rogas, but the short ones somehow involve too much riding up and thigh-rub, which just underscores how differently shaped everyone is.

    1. Completely true -- I just need reminding sometimes. :)

  3. Dude, your foot. Ouch. But at least your knee feels better.

  4. No one cares about you showing off with short shorts. Or at least who cares if they care. And once you stop caring, yeah it's way more comfortable. And also I might need to buy some of those.